I have to say since my daughter was born, about 8 years ago, I have made it a priority to travel to Disney dozens of times. I love it and feel like it is the perfect place for me to escape. It amazes me to see the progression of our experiences in the parks.
Since I am the primary Disney-addict and activity planner, I would pour over the map of each park, plan out routes and list the itinerary for the day. My goal being to get the most done in our time at the park. It was fun and we have made some fantastic memories, but we also have a lot of memories of standing in line waiting for attractions. This past trip all of that changed.
As technology has played a greater influence on our lives, Disney has integrated new technology and forms of media into the park experience. I first noticed the change about two years ago when the “Magic Band” concept was being tested at some of the resorts. I also noticed it in use on the Disney Cruise line. It was great in keeping track of my children in the kids club. Quick, convenient and easy to use.
During our park visits, I had downloaded the “My Disney Experience” app on my phone. I previously used something similar but this app was much more streamline and offered my information about the parks magic hours, attractions and wait times. Where I found it most helpful was in dining reservations. For this purpose, the app was a goldmine. We would casually walk past others waiting to be seated since we had made our restaurant reservations via the app. No muss, no fuss, and most of all, no wait.
Fast forward to today. During my most recent trips in 2015, the Magic Bands were fully in use at the resorts and what I thought would be a hassle, turned into a pleasure. For me part of the fun of Disney is the anticipation of the trip, so planning out our itinerary using the My Disney Experience was a real joy for me. Having our attractions and dining reservations set up months in advance took much of the pressure off the activities director, aka mom. It made the park visit so much more relaxing and pleasant. I found we enjoyed the park at a more leisurely pace, since it was our ride times and dining were already reserved for us.
In addition, the fast pass lines were never too long. This freed up time for us to enjoy other attractions we would have missed out on in the past. This time not being stuck in line for hours made the whole park visit so much better. We also did all our dining reservations via the “My Disney Experience” app. The one downside to this plan was that we ended up eating in a lot more sit-down restaurants, which in turn caused us to spend a lot more money on food. Before we would have been forced to go to some counter service spots. Going forward we will have to be more selective about which sit-down restaurants we go to and plan to bring more snacks with us.
In my opinion the “Magic Bands” and the “My Disney Experience” has transformed my time at Disney. I have a new appreciation for the parks since I can pick my head up from the park map, get away from my self imposed itinerary and deal with more reasonable lines. I can’t wait to see what lengths this new technology will go to in creating a better Disney vacations.